By Cody Stoots

Houston (CBS Houston) – In his first year as a NFL head coach Bill O’Brien engineered the best improvement from last year’s record and led the Texans to the franchises fourth winning season. 

A pretty good year, but not up to O’Brien’s expectations.

“9-7 is progress, but progress isn’t good enough,” he said addressing the media Monday. “The mission here is to win.”

Heading into his first full offseason as the head coach of the Texans, O’Brien now gets to help craft the team to a larger and more thorough degree than last year.

O’Brien made it clear he would take a long hard look at how he coached this year in the evaluation period. He said he would scrutinize his performance and how he managed team down to the practice schedules. He mentioned he would do the same with his staff.

“I told out team ‘there’s a lot more out there’ and it starts with the head coach,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien will have his first full offseason to work with general manager Rick Smith.

“We have a great relationship,” O’Brien said about working with Smith. He said they speak quite a bit and know they need to put together a better team than this year’s team.

“Great guy. Great communicator,” O’Brien said of his general manager.

The period of feeling out for this team is over according to O’Brien. The team will adjust but the team is aware of expectations and the team.

He said this locker room “bought-in” to his system even though he doesn’t like his phrase. He said it was refreshing to see the execution get them a winning record.

O’Brien said maybe the best thing about the team was  they played very hard every snap. He gave an example of the team holding the Jaguars off late in Sunday’s game.

As far as improvements he mentioned the team needs to learn to win close games and the team needed to get “situationally smarter.”

O’Brien made it clear what he wanted from a quarterback. He listed “hard worker, leadership, intelligence, being able to throw the ball accurately in critical situations” among the talents he desires in a quarterback.

Derek Newton drew praise from Bill O’Brien for his year. He mentioned Newton was often a topic of conversation and he liked what he saw from his right tackle.

“Derek Newton put a lot of work into this season and he played well,” O’Brien said. “He played consistently. Was it always perfect? No.”

O’Brien said Newton was “a guy we would look forward to working with in the future.”

He went through a laundry list of people on the defensive side of the ball that stood out including Kendrick Lewis, John Simon, and Jared Crick. O’Brien went on to point out Crick’s performances are often overshadowed by J.J. Watt’s performances.

He gushed about Watt and his record-setting year calling it a “year for the ages” from his defensive end. He said he thinks Watt will be working hard toward next week, maybe a few days from now, because he knows now there is more for the Texans and him on the field.

O’Brien said he wasn’t the person to ask about the MVP award but he said there really isn’t a player who changes the game of opposing coaches as much as Watt.

“I’m not into all those MVP conversations”

The staff will work through this week and then take some time off before they start evaluating their team, looking at free agents, and preparing for the draft.

The head coach will relax, but he isn’t headed for sandy shores.

“I’m not a big beach guy so I don’t know if I will be heading to a beach anywhere,” he said. “I might head to [Cape Cod] even though it’s like 20 degrees there I heard today.”

Follow Stoots on Twitter – @Cody_Stoots

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